Have you been working in the same event management role for a few years and wondered what you need to do to take yourself to the next level? Perhaps, if you’re honest with yourself, you’re enjoying ‘coasting’ in a job you know well and can do with your eyes closed. Or perhaps you are unsure about where you want to go and how to get there.
If you feel you’re stuck in your current role and need a change, there are some important steps you can take to reach your desired goals.
Create a plan
With anything in life, you need to have a good idea of what you want, in order to be able to achieve it. If you are looking to go to the next level in event management, it is time to gather your thoughts and create a plan.
You may be currently working as a hands-on Event Manager and want to secure a management role. Or you may already be at management level, but looking on to the next challenge. Whatever your goals may be, put them down in writing and work out what steps you need to take to get there.
Think short term, medium term and long term. If the long term plan is to launch your own event management agency consider the career steps that will get you there.
Keep it flexible. Life always throws surprises at us - some positive and some negative - and you need to be able to respond to them. It’s important that you don’t feel you have ‘failed’ if you’re not an events manager within three years - your priorities can change.
See what’s out there
If you’re in a role it’s often difficult to have a broader idea of what other roles (and their responsibIlities) are out there - and a great way to do this is to read lots of job adverts for the sort of roles you are aiming for long term. Most good job adverts for events or marketing roles will have a list of the key experience and skills that level or role needs - and this will really help you plot a path for your own development (we’d recommend signing up for job alerts on our website to get the latest roles sent direct to your inbox).
Close competency gaps
Then think about the skills you need to develop in order to secure the next role. It’s always worth thinking two career steps ahead - what experience or learning do you need in your next role to secure the one after that? If your plan is to be a corporate events director in four years’ time make sure your next role includes exposure to budget management and chairing meetings for instance.
Ask your current employer to work on special projects that will expand your experience. And if you can’t develop the experience in the job, consider volunteering for community projects that might help (e.g. the Round Table firework and bonfire display to get experience of risk assessments).
Make your aspirations clear
Some employers assume their employees are happy and leave them to get on with their job. They won’t actively try and move them on, sometimes subconsciously making assumptions which mean they restrict people’s opportunity for career progression (e.g. Steve’s done a lot of travelling so he won’t be interested in this UK-focused role). It’s worth sharing your ambitions with your employer so that when a good opportunity comes up they know you might be interested. If you have performance reviews, this is a good time to inform your manager of your future plans. It may be that there is already an opening you can move into or they may be willing to help you fill any skills gaps. You never know until you ask.
Build your brand
Consider your own personal brand and how you are perceived by colleagues, bosses and potential employers. Are you perceived as a creative thinker who brings new ideas to every event? Or a ‘right laugh’ who will brighten up any event but perhaps isn’t so great on the strategy. Perceptions become reality; but they can be managed. Think about who is in your network and build the contacts you need to help move to the next level. Write blogs or LinkedIn articles that demonstrate the expertise people may not appreciate you have. Dress and behave as if you are already in the next job in your career plan.
In order to be the best in your field at anything and to progress to the next level, you need to keep up-to-date with your sector through continuing professional development (CPD). With event management, you should ensure you are always finding out about any changes, which may include new legislation relating to public events, or the launch of new event management technology that can make your events run more easily or more slickly. Demonstrating your continuing professional development is clear evidence of your commitment to your chosen profession. Keep a record of everything, from reading to webinars, and if you are choosing a course it’s worth checking if they are registered for CPD hours. You may be surprised how many are.
Work with a good recruitment company
If you’re serious about your career in events management it makes sense to be registered with a recruitment agency that specialises in events jobs. Regan & Dean has been placing events professionals into new roles for more than 20 years, so when you’re looking at your next move in events, you should be talking with our events team.